Back to the beach (in style)
Sep 05, 2010
Aug 21, 2011
Where I stayed
The Beach Hotel
. Punctures # 8 and 9 for those counting.Both were fixed with maximum efficiency and watched by huge crowds. The bikes have really felt the strain recently and although it is really annoying at the time, looking back always means there is a good meeting with someone. Also now we are out of the mountains there is always a village close with repair shop/air and thousands of eager helpers. Feel really bad that they only charge 10 rupees to fix a puncture and one guy even insisted on giving me change. In one tiny village I walked 20 metres to a shop to get a cold drink while Mikey fixed the puncture and turned round to see at least 25 people had appeared from nowhere and surrounded him. I was a bit worried until I saw them help him take the wheel off and all accompany him to the repair shop. Another 5 came over to me to help me buy 4 bananas and 2 drinks! It is these chance meetings which makes cycling so different. In the bus stop we took shade in, there was a woman in full Muslim dress. At first she was scared to talk, but Pols offered her a biscuit and as we left she felt confident enough to ask Polly's name. Many of our encounters today were unfortunately quite annoying. Shouted at by groups of lads, some through excitement to see white people but many overdoing it to rudeness. Motorbikes went past uncomfortably slowly to check us out, trying to talk to us when we needed to be focussing on trucks bearing down in us. It is a really draining experience being so watched by everyone but when you talk to the individuals it makes it all better
. The two young boy scouts were wonderful, so smart in full uniform with bikes really accessorised. The last 10 miles into town were hard. At the end of 5 hours cycling it is hard to maintain concentration but with so much going on around you it is so important to stay switched on. People walked out in the road straight into Pols path, a couple of buses made me blow my top (someone nearly killing you or worse, your wife, makes you absolutely CRAZY mad) and other obstacles meant that when we hit Beach Road, we were more than pleased. Rolling up to Beach Hotel we kept everything crossed that they had a room. They did, and what a room it is. We enjoyed supper in the connecting sea view balcony room and watched the sun go down. In need of Western comfort I ordered fish and chips. We have decided on a day off tomorrow. Clean clothes, bike maintenance, forward planning, rest, all very much needed. We haven’t done any washing since we got here as they all take 24 hrs and we’ve not had any days off. We are also covered in bites/heat rash/very sore muscle/bruises and need a break!!
The hotel we stayed in last night was so good we wanted to prolong the experience, so we ordered breakfast to the room. Dosa with coconut and curry sauce is a good way to start the day! I went down to unlock the bikes only to find ANOTHER puncture. It delayed our start but was quite fun chatting to all the security guards as I repaired it. The morning heat was already out, there was also a lively wind which we hoped would be behind us for the day. Off we went, neither of us feeling too much up for the 60 odd miles ahead of us. The cycling was pretty steady, very hot but roads fairly decent and hills just to a roll. We passed some funny sights along the way; the biggest elephant (unfortunately in chains) dragging something up a hill, an Indian driving test centre (oh how I would like to talk to those examiners about how they actually pass any of these people to be on the road). The morning was defined by punctures. After the overnight flatty, I had a blow out going down a hill and then another as some bloke over did it on the air machine